A picture of American style pizza

American Style Pizza – Characteristics, History, and General Preparation

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What is American style pizza, what are its defining characteristics and historical background, what can you expect when eating it, and how is it generally prepared? This post will provide you with all the details about American style pizza

General Background and Characteristics

American-style pizza can be described as “industrial/mass-produced pizza.” This style of pizza is commonly associated with well-known American chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s, as well as many ‘generic’ pizzerias around the world.

So, what sets American-style pizza apart? One key characteristic is its emphasis on quick and affordable production, without the need for highly skilled labor. In other words, it is designed to be made efficiently, even by an inexperienced 16-year-old boy with just a few hours of training. This doesn’t necessarily have any negative implications, as demonstrated by the sales success of the aforementioned chains; it simply reflects the product’s adaptation to meet business requirements.

In terms of the pizza itself, American-style pizza typically has a round shape with medium thickness, a relatively low dough hydration, and a dense and chewy texture. The dough often contains a higher percentage of vegetable oil and sugar, and it is usually baked in a conveyor oven. The tomato sauce is usually heavily seasoned, and the pizza is generously topped with standard toppings, as the relatively thick crust can easily support them. The cheese used can be mozzarella or other types, including cheese substitutes (god forbid).

Roots and History of American Style Pizza

Unlike other styles of American pizza that have deep cultural roots, American Style pizza lacks a significant cultural tradition. It is essentially the result of commercialization, with large chains prioritizing mass production. Consequently, there is not much more to elaborate on. Historically, American Style pizza emerged in the 1950s, coinciding with the establishment of Sbarro (1956), Pizza Hut (1958), Domino’s Pizza (1959), and Little Caesar’s (1960). Papa John’s later entered the scene in 1984.

Eating Characteristics of American Style Pizza

The taste is one that we are all familiar with from popular pizza chains like Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Pizza Hut, as well as small local pizzerias. The dough tends to be plain and lacking in flavor, while the tomato sauce is highly seasoned. Large quantities of cheese are often used to “mask” the lack of flavor in the dough. It is worth noting that major chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s do use high-quality mozzarella.

Preparation of American Style Pizza

A commonly used dough recipe for this style includes: 55-58% hydration, 2-6% oil, and 1-5% sugar.

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